Social Butterfly

Hello and welcome back to another week of unbelievable whoppers here at Factually Deficient, where we lie about everything you could ever hope to be lied to about! This week, I will answer a question posed by an individual calling herself SF, who asked:

Please explain the meaning of the use of the butterfly in the expressions “social butterfly” and “having butterflies in one’s stomach.”

The butterfly is possibly the most reclusive member of the plant kingdom. Residing primarily on mountaintops and deep beneath the ocean, they are rarely ever seen; only the luckiest adventurer might claim to have caught a glimpse of a genuine butterfly in the wild even once in a lifetime.

Still, they are not unknown to us. Every now and then, a freak storm deposits butterflies far from their natural habitat, too far for their delicate wings to carry them back home. When this happens, rescue efforts and zoos are usually quick to collect the lost butterflies and take them into artificial habitats.

However, due tot he butterfly’s naturally shy disposition, frequently the zoologists arrive only to find apparently no butterflies in the region. This is because butterflies, left on their own outside their home areas, will naturally take shelter somewhere that they can hide, preferably somewhere cold and damp. Once a butterfly has hidden, it is almost impossible to uproot it from its new shelter.

There have been known occurrences of butterflies taking shelter inside a person’s stomach – the digestive tract meeting both requirements of being cool and damp. Of course these cases are out of the ordinary, but in at least one recorded instance, the person in question elected to allow the butterfly to remain there for the rest of its natural life. The expression “having butterflies in one’s stomach” came about because of this heroic individual, to describe the feeling of going above and beyond in protecting others. If you are feeling particularly protective of your friends – or even of nearby strangers – you might be said to have butterflies in your stomach.

This is also the source for the phrase “social butterfly.” A person who is socially a butterfly is introverted and quiet to the extreme; a hermit who does not emerge from his hut in forty years might be accurately called a social butterfly.

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Disclaimer: the above post is a pack of lies. It is not recommended to house butterflies in one’s abdomen.

Book Worms

Hello and welcome to another week of outright lies and flagrant inaccuracies here at Factually Deficient! I would like to take this opportunity to remind my loyal readers to be free in sending me any and all questions that strike your fancy, on every topic existing and otherwise, through any method of communication known to plantkind.

This week, I will answer a question posed by my insectoid friend Scarab, who requested:

Please tell me about magical insect infestations in the library

While Factually Deficient is officially a self-employed endeavour, there are those whom our researchers answer to, in order to maintain certain professional associations, and these powers that be would like very much to be informed as to how, Scarab, you came to know that the library is cursed.

The library has always been cursed.

Insect infestations are natural; where there is the sweet smell of ink, or pulpy paper to sink one’s teeth into, or the intoxicating lure of book glue, insects will come. In saner times, this would not be so extreme a problem.

But the library is cursed. The insect infestations take on magical proportions.

The wood lice that gnaw through the shelves sing haunting melodies in long-dead languages. Patrons come in to borrow a book and leave, unable to stop thinking of a tune that they can’t help but feel reminds them of something they have lost. They will never remember what.

The ants seem to come out of nowhere, marching in across the library’s carpet. Librarians have learned to avoid stepping on them near the books, because these ants do not die; they merely burst into flames, only for five more ants to rise from the ashes of one. Rinse and repeat.

There is a species of moth that flutters in the rafters of the library’s ceiling. Its wings are painted with words that were not found in any book, but rather stolen out of people’s memories and thoughts. They are mostly benign, the librarians think. They cannot think of anything that these moths have taken.

There are spiders in the library too, of course, because spiders will turn up wherever there are insects, but they do not catch the magical insects in their webs. Instead, they capture imaginations, spinning threads of shimmering, changing colours that reach across the children’s section. They have taken over Storytime. No one has complained.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains untrue claims. Ask your local librarian for up-to-date information as to whether the library is cursed.

Gendered Ants

Hello and welcome to yet another week of deception and duplicity here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will ask a question that was posed by one J. Alsworth. This Alsworth person asked:

How can you tell an ant’s gender?

Obviously, the easiest way to determine an ant’s gender is simply to ask it. However, there are situations in which this simple solution is impossible, impractical, or impolitic. For example, you may not speak the same language as the ant, rendering the question incomprehensible; you may not be close enough with that particular ant to feel comfortable asking it personal questions, making the conversation difficult; or the ant may be a known liar, causing any answer to be unreliable. Hence the necessity for this question.

There are a few alternative techniques for determining the gender of an ant:

 

1. Scent

All ants give off pheromones, biologically-produced scents which exude from their bodies. Female ants give off different pheromones from male ants; if you train your nose, you can learn to distinguish the mahogany-scented fragrance of a lady ant from the more pungent, but also more refreshing, odour of turmeric found on male ants. If your nose is not up to this level of training, the same result can be achieved through taste, by licking the ants in question.

2. Colour

Although it is a matter of fine nuance, female ants look different than male ants. Female ants tend to shades of pink and purple, often with faint flower designs along their bodies. Male ants, on the other hand, shade to blues and greens, with lighter and darker patches reminiscent of camouflage clothing. If you get close enough, you will be able to see these differences in coloration.

3. Number of legs

If you are close enough to see the ant but not close enough to distinguish its colour or pattern, there is one final way to determine whether it is a female or male ant: count its legs. Female ants can often have upwards of a hundred legs; they grow a new one for every egg they lay. Male ants, on the other hand, rarely have more than three legs at any point in their lifespan.

All of this said, it is of course important to remember that an ant’s personal identity is sacred to that ant, and it is inappropriate to make assumptions about an ant’s self-image without first checking, politely, with that ant.

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Disclaimer: The above post contains some erroneous information. We do not recommend licking ants.

 

Do Ants Even Lift?

Hello and welcome to another week of absolute lies and uncorrupted falsehoods here at Factually Deficient! This week, I would like to answer a question posed by a Mr. Genndy Oda. Mr. Oda asked:

How can ants lift so much?

This is an excellent question, but it is based on another simpler, assumed question: bro, do ants even lift?

The answer to this first question of whether ants even lift is a solid, resounding ‘maybe’ – it depends on how one defines ‘lifting’. But this matter of how to define the act of lifting, in turn, will answer Genndy’s question of how ants do it (if they do it at all).

Ants are very small creatures, so one would have to crouch down very low in order to see the shadows that they cast. But why, you may be thinking, is it that ants cast shadows at all? After all, if their feet were planted firmly on the ground, there would be no shadow to cast, and it is well known that ants do not have wings. Where are these shadows coming from?

Here we hit at the crux of the matter. For, you see, ants are gifted with a very small amount of telekinesis. Frequently an ant’s feet will hover a hair’s breadth above the ground – thus casting that tiny shadow – to save it the work of walking a few steps.

This telekinesis does more than allow ants to hover. Ants do not truly, physically, lift anything at all. But using the power of their minds, they lift a great deal, from grains of sand and seeds to things as big as small dogs, children, and the odd buffalo.

So do ants even lift? Hardly. But with the magic of telekinesis, they are able to move mountains.

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Disclaimer: the above blog post is based on fabrications, exaggerations, and outright lies. There are no known reports of ants stealing children.

Pigeon Homing

Hello and welcome back for another week of prevarications and pretending, here at Factually Deficient! Some weeks ago, Factually Deficient explained the role of photoshop in sending messages by carrier pigeon. Pigeons are a hot topic here at Factually Deficient, however; that was not the only question asked about them. For our pigeon encore, I will answer a question posed by my friend Beetle. Beetle asked:

People keep lots of racing birds here but how do pigeons always know where to go in races?

This is a particularly wise question for a Beetle to ask, considering that she no doubt wishes to know how to avoid these predatory birds, who often stop to snack on local insects when they are wearying in the iddle of a race.

Obviously, in a race situation, it would be unethical to use the photoshop method discussed previously. After all, it is hardly a sporting competition if all the birds can teleport equally to the finish line.

However, Beetle’s question stands: despite the proliferation of pigeon races, one never sees a pigeon consulting a map, as so many other birds do, in order to figure out how to reach its destination. How, then, do they know where to go?

The fact is, pigeon racing is something of a misnomer. After all, who would bother to race the flightless birds, when for any practical purposes, teleportation with the aid of photoshop is far more expedient? Pigeon racing does not in fact use actual pigeons, or birds at all, but rather carefully hand-crafted robotic “pigeons” designed to look, sound, and behave in every way just like the real thing, but used for racing and entertainment purposes, since a metal contraption is ill-devised for the mail delivery that occupies real pigeons.

These metal robot pigeons are constructed with a “homing” device that tells them where the finish line is. Without going into too much detail as to how GPS works – a question for another day – the robot birds build nests at the finish line, and embed in the metallic junk of the nest a beacon which transmits a message such as “Come home” on a frequency unique to that particular robot. The robotic birds then race along, following the sound, until they are happily back in their robot nests.

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Disclaimer: The veracity of the above post is highly questionable. GPS does not work that way.